For The Friends Who Witnessed My Mania

by Lauren Heaver

Do you remember when we were kids, and used to sit back in summertime, making daisy chains with each other?  Laid within a pastoral environment.  I remember as a seven year old, doing that before sports day…….the first glimpse or exposure to, the competitive onslaught that would be the wider world.

Then there was the fashion craze of friendship bracelets.  Talking nineties terrible idea of what looks good.  But we took it to heart.  Everyone had a friendship bracelet.  Beads for every bead of sweat shed during social intercourse.

I found out for real, what friendship really meant, when I got ill with the onset of mania.  I was cocooned by friends during this first episode.  They drove me to hospital, they stayed with me for a period of 36 hours in the hospitals unit.  They were, even though I did not see it at the time, my anchor during a huge internal storm I found myself adrift in.

And always, they had an immense sense of humour.  We still laugh about the time I was ranting to the walls and ceilings of that unit about Michael Jackson having a small one.  But I actually believed I was talking to him.  Sort of like a weird fan.  And no, I am not a particular fan so do not know where that one came from.

My mental illness has obviously affected my friends.  And for a while it seemed it would affect how they saw me.  But that was not the case.

I have never seen or experienced such trust and love and care from people since I admitted what was wrong and got help.  It is more my friends than me, that I owe writing about because at times, the Times I stayed over whilst they were worried about me, the boyfriend who cushioned all my anxiety, who tried as hard as possible to cure me.

Well, finally, three years later I feel as cured as a piece of Gammon…as in, cured yes, but still on a table available for other people who do not know very well, to digest.  Or analyze.

I am reminded often, about the daisy chain.  The way it is so delicate and yet so beautiful.  And regularly hard to make.  This is how I look at every single friend who helped me through a very tough time.  As a pretty flower, pretty on its own…but joined together in a bangle, surrounding a vulnerable persons wrist, my oh my, it changes into something wonderful.

If you are concerned about the mental health of you or someone you know, talk to Mind on 0300 123 3393 or at their website, here.

More Mental Health coverage on #MentalMovement

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